FIN Drives: 2013 Ford Escape Titanium - Ford Inside News Community
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-02-2013, 12:04 PM Thread Starter
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FIN Drives: 2013 Ford Escape Titanium

Ford's trucklet grows up, becomes a classy crossover.
January 2, 2013
By: Nick Saporito

This year the compact SUV segment has seen sales increase nearly 16-percent, making it one of the biggest gainers in the era of rebounding auto sales. Ford is hoping to capitalize off of the increasing importance of this segment with a radically changed Escape. Historically a little trucklet that was a bit rough around the edges, this new Escape shares virtually nothing but a name with it’s predecessor—and that’s a good thing.

The Escape has always been a well-liked vehicle. Consistently one of Ford’s best sellers in North America, and overall a vehicle that seemed to always hit a sweet spot in terms of size and price. Plus, it has always had a bit of charm with its mini-truck look and simple option sheet. With the new Escape, however, the fundamental formula is being changed. The Escape has grown up both in terms of design and features. The days of the simple Escape are long gone, because this new one has modernized the nameplate entirely.

For 2013 the Escape has moved over to the same platform as the Focus. There are several reasons for this, but the main one being that the new Escape is a global vehicle and Ford is gaining economies of scale out of using the same chassis twice. Dimensionally the Escape is roughly the same size it has always been, however.

The similar footprint is somewhat deceiving, though, because from some angles the new Escape looks smaller than its predecessor, and from others, it looks larger. Much of the visual teasing has to do with the Escapes new look.

[imgalign=left][/imgalign]The old Escape was a handsome lad, though if it were a model it would have been wearing mainstream blue jeans and a t-shirt. Using the same analogy, the new Escape is wearing a nice new suit. The front clip looks like one would envision the SUV version of the Focus to look like, with a very large lower air dam and small slot where a traditional grille would typically be found.

Throughout the side panels the Escape has dropped its hard edges for more sculpted sheet metal, giving it more of a proper crossover look. The exterior look is polished off with an unusual rear design; one that is a nice blend of Ford’s design theme and proportions borrowed from the Explorer. The rear window line is high, with the lift gate having a very dimensional look surrounding tail lamps that ended up foreshadowing those on the 2013 Fusion.

Ford’s new family look carries through to the inside of the new Escape as well. As one may expect, the Escape interior borrows many, many cues from the latest Focus interior. Both interiors could best be summed up with one word: technical.

The interior design theme is one with many angles and cut lines, paired with oddly shaped HVAC vents, accented with aluminum look and piano black finishes. The technical look is sort of artificial in the sense that it looks conceptual and futuristic, but that is likely on purpose as Ford aspires to capture a young audience for both Escape and Focus.

Despite the technical look, the interior design works well with the Escape, though there are some ergonomic setbacks worth noting.

When the gear selector is in park, the shift knob blocks off the HVAC controls, making is near impossible to adjust air controls. Typically the trade off of having a gear selector mounted closer to the center stack is the benefit of vast storage space between the front bucket seats, say, for a bag. In the case of the Escape Ford has opted to have an oversized parking brake mounted in the center console, which looks great, but is a waste of space.

Its also worth noting that the Escape front passenger compartment feels more cramped than the Honda CR-V or Chevrolet Equinox, mostly because of the interior design. The windshield rake is low, and the driver-centric design does end up giving the interior space the perception that it is smaller than it really is.

[imgalign=right][/imgalign]Like most new Ford interiors, material quality within the Escape cabin is excellent. All Escape trim levels come with cloth seats standards, except for the top tier Titanium trim, which has a jersey-like fabric combined with faux leather. At first we were on the fence about this fabric choice, but over the course of our time with Escape we came to like it.

The only area of questionable interior quality is actually the rear bench seat. Both the seat and back cushions are very flat and lack contour of any kind, which makes them uncomfortable for some passengers. Even to look at, they look insignificant. Insignificant or not, the back seats fold flat for a decent amount of cargo space.

Anything but insignificant is the fact that the new Escape is equipped with Ford’s infamous MyFord Touch infotainment system. Our Titanium tester had the gadgetry as standard fare, and like nearly every Ford tester we’ve had; when it works it is great. The problem with MyFord continues to be software bugs that have not been worked out. One thing the Escape has going for it is that it uses physical buttons to control nearly all functions, including the sound quality of it’s excellent 10-speaker Sony surround system.

Driving the new Escape is quite a departure from the old version. Ford’s 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder with 240 horsepower and 270 foot-pounds of torque powered our Titanium tester. The 2.0-liter proved to be an excellent match with the Escape, providing ample power under all conditions. Like most Ford EcoBoost engines, the 2.0-liter rarely feels like a turbocharged mill, exhibiting little in the way of turbo lag. Only every once in awhile will passengers hear a hint of turbo whine as the turbocharger spools up under hard acceleration.

Combined with a six-speed automatic the powertrain is excellent for the Escape and should please a very wide range of buyers. During our week stint with it we averaged 19 miles per-gallon, but we also had a lot of idle time and harder driving than most buyers are going to exhibit.

The 2.0-liter goes a long way at making the Escape enjoyable to drive, but the chassis takes it a step further. For being a crossover, the new Escape is a great handler with a poised chassis that exhibits very little sway and consistently feels like the center of gravity is lower than physics would allow on a vehicle this size.

While the Escape is a great handling crossover, it’s ride quality is questionable. Titanium models wear large 19-inch wheels, which makes for a surprisingly harsh ride quality. Nearly every bump and rough spot translates into vibrations throughout the chassis. While this athletic trait is welcomed on certain types of vehicles, the Escape isn’t one of them.

Opting for smaller wheels will ease the harshness a bit, though even with smaller shoes the Escape’s ride is still harsher than most of the competition.

Overall the new Escape is likely to take on new life as a formidable competitor to many mainstays in the compact crossover segment. Escape has always been a segment favorite, but now it has grown up to a new pinnacle in it’s life with a new look, techy interior, tons of gadgets and an athletic drive.

Click here for more 2013 Escape photos
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-02-2013, 12:41 PM
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Re: FIN Drives: 2013 Ford Escape Titanium

Too bad about the back seat, not the first time I have heard this complaint either. I wonder if Ford will do something about fixing it? I mean adding more cushioning should fix it right?

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-02-2013, 01:06 PM
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Re: FIN Drives: 2013 Ford Escape Titanium

They really should have given it a slightly larger interior and cargo area. It seems tighter than the old one regardless of specs.

I believe those seats are the new Global lightweight ones they 'thoroughly' tested for comfort!?!

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-02-2013, 08:13 PM
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Re: FIN Drives: 2013 Ford Escape Titanium

It is probably flat so that it can fold flat and allow a flat load floor. That being said, it seems like they could have added a power lumbar to it.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-03-2013, 01:10 AM
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Re: FIN Drives: 2013 Ford Escape Titanium

Nice Ride I always loved top of the line trim models that Ford makes.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-03-2013, 01:44 AM
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Re: FIN Drives: 2013 Ford Escape Titanium

Im a GM fan who has fell head over heals for the new Ford and Lincoln products I have test driven all of these 2012 Ford Explorer Limited AWD (my new love in red), 2012 Ford F 150 Lariet 3.5 Ecoboost, 2012 Ford Edge Limited AWD, 2013 Ford Fusion S, 2005 Ford Mustang GT. Now I got to Drive This one too, but i got to get my Explorer or Taurus SHO first in red.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-03-2013, 02:05 PM
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Re: FIN Drives: 2013 Ford Escape Titanium

Having spent some time behind the wheel and as a passenger, these are my observations:

The Ecoboost 2.0 engine is a pleasure. It has plenty of power whenever you need it and moves the car swiftly. It also does this without too much fuss, noise, or vibration. I have noticed though that the exhaust outlets have a large amount of soot collecting on them, even after less than 200 miles. In comparison, our 2013 Explorer with 20,000 miles has very little.

The cabin is a generally pleasant place. I appreciate real knobs and switches to adjust the A/C. In park, the shifter is in the way, but a minor thing. One thing I cannot stand is the shiny painted plastic parts that cover the center console. They look cheap and seem like they would show scratches easily. Also, the angle of the MFT screen and the bezel at the bottom make it an awkward reach to touch the Entertainment and Climate quandrants.

The front seats are comfy, but the rear seats are way too flat in every direction to be comfortable for longer trips. The fronts of the seats could be an inch higher with a bit more bottom cushioning and contouring, and I would sacrifice a bit of flat load floor to accomplish this.

The cabin is reasonably quiet, but I expected better from reading various reviews. In the two samples I have had experience with, the amount of wind noise at speed was disappointing. Road noise was fine, as was engine sound. As for the ride, it was okay in the front, but very unpleasant in the back. It felt like the rear end never stopped jiggling and vibrating over the smallest of road irregularities. Both versions were SELs, so I am not sure what wheels they had. Hopefully these issues will be addressed in the Lincoln version.

Overall, it is a nice vehicle, with a peppy engine and a compact size that I can appreciate. Would I buy one? Probably not as I am not a fan of the painted angular dash and wind noise. I'll be looking close at the Lincoln version to see if my gripes are addressed.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-03-2013, 06:41 PM
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Re: FIN Drives: 2013 Ford Escape Titanium

Does the 2.0 have much turbo lag or is it very minor or not at all?
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-03-2013, 07:42 PM
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Re: FIN Drives: 2013 Ford Escape Titanium

Another rather uninformative hack job with notable snide remarks that Mr Snowbank is infamous for making. Why he is even allowed to comment on Fords is beyond me. He's a sellout to the blue square to the first order and is never impartial.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-04-2013, 12:33 AM
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Re: FIN Drives: 2013 Ford Escape Titanium

I would say little to no turbo lag. I am comparing this to our former Subie Forester XT which had some lag.
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